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As your dog gets older, you should ensure that it gets the right nutrition to keep it healthy and boost its immunity. But how do you define a senior dog? Of course, it varies because different breeds have different life spans. However, if your dog is over 6 years old, then it is considered an older dog.

By choosing the best foods to meet the nutritional needs of your older dog, you make their senior days enjoyable. Here are some of the nutrients found in the best senior dog foods: 

Foods with high fiber content

Fiber is beneficial to dogs just as it is to humans. Senior dogs are prone to developing constipation and fiber can help to reduce the chances of this scenario from happening.

Fiber also limits the possibility of your dog developing colon cancer. This is because it speeds up the rate of elimination of food in the dog’s colon so the carcinogens don’t have enough time to interact with the cells of the intestines.

What’s more, fiber gets fermented into fatty acids by bacteria present in your dog’s colon. These fatty acids help to quicken the recovery of any injury in the intestines and reduce growth of harmful bacteria.

Focus on giving your senior dog foods that high amounts of fiber.

Foods with adequate protein

As dogs grow old, their organs’ ability to function efficiently also reduces. A good example is kidneys. Senior dogs with reduced kidney function may have a hard time working on high amounts of proteins.

So you should aim at giving your senior dog foods that have enough proteins to keep them healthy without overloading their kidneys. According to AAFCO, adult dogs should maintain foods containing between 18 to 26 percent protein.

Foods high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential type of fat that is good for your dog’s body and brain. DHA, a major component of Omega 3 fat, helps to improve the brain function of old dogs enabling them to retain a sharp memory. What’s more, Omega 3 treats canine arthritis and chronic kidney dysfunction which are common problems in adult dogs.

One of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids is fish oil. However, before introducing any omega 3 supplements into your dog’s diet, you should consult a veterinarian for expert advice on the options.

Food high in antioxidants

Antioxidants are important supplements to give your older dog. Antioxidants help to protect your dog’s body against damage by free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals produced during various processes in the body. These free radicals can interact with healthy cells causing them to function abnormally and become cancerous.

In young dogs, their bodies usually produce enough antioxidants to neutralize free radicals before they can cause damage. As these dogs grow old, their organ functions reduce significantly and may result in production of limited amounts of antioxidants. By giving your dog foods high in antioxidants, you reduce the chances of cell damage due to free radicals. 

Research also shows that antioxidants can improve the cognitive function and memory of dogs. 

Some common antioxidants include vitamin C and E but you can also include fruits and vegetables in your dog’s diet because they are great sources of antioxidants too.

Best Senior Dog Food: How to Choose the Right Food for Your Old Dog

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Chondroitin and Glucosamine

These two supplements are used to manage the effects of arthritis in senior dogs. Arthritis happens when cartilage between bones begins to wear out and the bones start to rub against each other causing pain.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are used to reduce pain and joint wear in dogs by stimulating the repair of damaged cartilage. So, your dog can move again without feeling intense pain or experiencing inflammation. 

Dry dog food

Dry dog food is also good for senior dogs because it prevents growth of tartar which results in bad breath and gum diseases. Tartar is a teeth-destroying-acid formed when food particles mix with bacteria and minerals on the teeth.

Conclusion

Old dogs need to be taken care of to increase their lifespan. And one of the ways to do this is giving them the right dog food to strengthen their immunity and add them the necessary nutrients to keep their organs healthy. The senior dog food should contain high levels of fiber, and adequate amounts of protein. Antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids are also necessary for a stronger body!

Author: Vincent Otieno

Author Bio - Vincent